Forgive me internet, for I have sinned. I used to pirate almost all my games. There isn't much in this post but an honest confession, an expression of guilt, and a sincere apology to an industry that I love.
What are my excuses? Well, before I had my own income, my parents were very stingy and rarely bought me things for fun (stereotypically Asian I suppose). It wasn't until my junior year of college that I realized I had enough disposable income from internships to buy my games. From that point on, my piracy habits went way down, and now I never pirate games anymore. I still pirate movies on occasion though, since it's still the most convenient way - or the only way at all - to watch some obscure and foreign movies that aren't on iTunes or NetFlix. I've stopped pirating music completely, probably thanks to iTunes, which I've spent hundreds of dollars on.
But all throughout high school, I pirated tons of games. My list of shame: Deus Ex. Half-Life. Thief. System Shock 1 and 2. Quake 3. Tons of older "abandonware" games, like Ultima Underworld, tons of Lucas Arts and Sierra adventure games, countless SNES roms (Chrono trigger, Final Fantasies, etc.).
So, I want to apologize to all those developers I might have harmed - if even just a little bit - due to my pirating. I'm an aspiring game developer myself, so I understand how tough it is. I've recently started buying games I've already played in an effort to atone for my sins. Services like GOG.com and Steam are great for this, and I've spent a good amount on both.
At the same time, I do think that as developers we need to acknowledge that piracy is here to stay, and that the best way to adapt is to offer better service and alternative pricing schemes. Sure, piracy is wrong, but it's not that wrong, so people will do it. In the grand scheme of things, we're making games for a living. There are real moral issues to worry about in life, like war and free trade, and I really don't think the plight of game developers is one of them. The fact that we can do this at all for a living is pretty damn amazing, and we should be thankful for that.
But I still feel bad about pirating games, and I hope you will all tell me "it's OK - we forgive you." And I really hope no one sues me.